The visitors had signalled early on they would push forward when possible, creating two chances for Raúl Jiménez, the No 9 in Nuno Espírito Santo’s 5-4-1. Both times United were breached along Luke Shaw’s left corridor but Jiménez failed to take full advantage; he miscued the first and De Gea saved smartly from the second.
Sir Alex Ferguson was back where he belongs – at Old Trafford – for the first time since recovering from a brain haemorrhage but he witnessed a disappointing draw for a Manchester United team who failed to turn dominance into three points. At the close Wolves came close to stealing victory when David de Gea saved a shot from Adama Traoré with a foot and the Wolves winger then blasted wide in added time.
Mourinho had paired Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling in central defence for a fourth successive game and Alexis Sánchez replaced Anthony Martial on the left, as the manager had flagged up in the buildup. In all there were four changes by United’s manager; by contrast, his Portuguese compatriot fielded the same XI he has for all Wolves matches this term.
Mourinho’s faith in the Smalling-Lindelöf combination was hardly repaid by what occurred from two João Moutinho corners. When he floated the ball over from the right Ryan Bennett headed over, then moments later Willy Boly forced a superb De Gea save with neither centre-back anywhere near.
This also illustrated how United were pinned back in virtually all of the opening passages. But, then, on 20 minutes, they reversed this the best way: by scoring.
Shaw wandered forward close to Wolves’ area and pinged in a cross. Eventually, the ball fell to Paul Pogba and he continued his fine form from midweek with a cute reverse-flick to Fred, whose right-foot quasi-pea-roller beat Rui Patrício.
On 27 minutes the stadium again rose to acclaim Ferguson, who could be seen beaming his appreciation – the time of this salute in recognition of his number of years in charge of the club.
Sánchez continues to struggle for consistency but Ferguson would have approved of how he drove along the left and flipped a clever ball in toward the galloping Pogba and Romelu Lukaku as half-time neared.
On the touchline Espírito Santo was a frustrated man regarding some of the decisions awarded against Wolves and when Patrício dawdled and had to hoof the ball out as Jesse Lingard closed in his emotion turned to fury.
United commenced the second half with a raking Pogba pass that Lukaku expertly kneed into his path and for a moment Patrício’s goal looked threatened but the centre-forward’s shot was blocked.
It was a sign of the home side’s ascendancy, though too often they ceded the ball via clumsy touches, with Fred a chief culprit. This vice led to the visitors’ equaliser, with Pogba to blame.
The Frenchman attempted a fancy turn near halfway and lost the ball to Rúben Neves as the onlooking Mourinho reacted with concern, knowing what might now happen.
It did: when Wolves tore forward Jiménez passed the ball back inside United’s area to Moutinho and he smacked the ball home. Mourinho’s reaction was to remove Fred and the ineffective Sánchez for Juan Mata and Martial on 62 minutes.
Martial combined with Shaw for the latter to swing in a far-post cross from which Marouane Fellaini should have beaten Patrício but the ball went into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Mourinho’s last throw was a switch of Lingard for Andreas Pereira. The midfielder won a free-kick in a central area, 30 yards out, but this came to nothing, and United’s run of three consecutive victories ended.
Source: The Guardian